The bustle of a birdfeeder offers endless entertainment while also providing food security for feathered neighbours through the winter months. Canadian and American bird lovers can do even more to help by joining Project FeederWatch. Data collected by citizen scientists gives researchers a big picture of winter movements and relative species abundance from year to year. This assists conservation.
Participation depends only on a well-stocked birdfeeder. A pair of binoculars will make the experience more enjoyable. New joiners receive a kit with instructions, materials to help identify visitors, and instructions on submitting findings online. Data are collected at regular intervals from November to early April. Participants may choose how much time to spend birding.
Project FeederWatch is handled jointly by Bird Studies Canada and in the U.S. by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. These links provide more information and show how to join. A fee is required. The 2012-2013 season begins on Nov. 10, but signup can occur anytime. For interesting photos, background information and community, FeederWatch Canada has a Facebook group; Cornell has a Project FeederWatch Blog and Facebook page.